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Amanda Knox Movie: Did Amanda Knox Lifetime Film Harm Her Case?

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 23, 2011 8:46 AM

Hayden Panettiere is no Amanda Knox, but she does play her in the new Amanda Knox Lifetime movie--Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy.

Though the network isn't known for its titling, the Amanda Knox movie is sure to be another boring Sunday afternoon hit. That's if the lawyers representing Knox, her also-convicted ex-boyfriend, and the parents of victim Meredith Kercher don't get to it first.

The Amanda Knox movie is billed as being based on a true story, but the screenwriters took a bit of liberty in portraying the events that took place. Though no one involved in the project has ever met Amanda Knox, Lifetime had Hayden Panettiere play her as somewhat bratty and selfish, making her seem capable of committing the horrific crime. The Amanda Knox movie also has Panettiere dressed in a sexually provocative manner, one of over 15 scenes or lines that allegedly do not match with real life events.

Amanda Knox's parents charge that the Lifetime movie can harm her appeal, which is currently active in Italy. If this had happened in the U.S., could they stop Lifetime from airing the movie?

This is a tough question that involves the weighing of different interests. On one hand, Lifetime and the screenwriter have a First Amendment right to air the Amanda Knox movie as well as take creative liberty with the facts. On the other, Amanda Knox, if tried in the U.S., would have a right to a fair and impartial trial.

A judge would have to consider the likelihood that the Amanda Knox Lifetime movie would create bias amongst the judges hearing her appeal, or a jury should a second trial occur. He would then have to weigh that possibility against freedom of speech and any public interest involved. There's absolutely no way to predict an outcome.

The Amanda Knox movie is undoubtedly uneven, despite attempts to make it fair and balanced. Hayden Panettiere plays an Amanda Knox so unlikeable, petty and addicted to drugs, that Entertainment Weekly believes that any viewer would think her guilty. This may be a problem if Meredith Kercher had been murdered in the U.S., but do Italians even watch Lifetime?

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